Fund set up in memory of lifeboatman

FAMILY and friends of a lifeboat volunteer who “died doing what he loved” when he was swept out to sea during a fishing trip are to set up a charitable fund in his honour.

FAMILY and friends of a lifeboat volunteer who “died doing what he loved” when he was swept out to sea during a fishing trip are to set up a charitable fund in his honour.

Father-of-two Martyn Franklin went missing on November 1 after waves pulled him into the sea from Kessingland beach, near Lowestoft.

His body was discovered six days later by the crew of a fishing trawler, although formal identification did not take place until earlier this week.

Vanessa Frary, known as Nell, last night paid tribute to her brother.

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“It was mental torture waiting to hear whether the body they found was Martyn's or not, but now we know for certain we feel like we have had a weight taken off our shoulders,” said Ms Frary, of Appledown Drive in Bury St Edmunds.

“I broke the news to my mum, and I think we both feel better because we can try to move on with our lives, whereas we could not even plan the funeral before now and were completely in limbo.”

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Mr Franklin, 41, grew up in Bury, but moved to Lowestoft a few years ago where he became a volunteer with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

He had gone out fishing with his friend, Paul Blyth, when he lost his footing on the wet shingle and got dragged out to sea.

Members of his own lifeboat crew were sent out to search for him after he went missing.

“Paul did everything he could to save Martyn, but the waves were too strong and if he had done anything more he would have lost his own life as well,” said Ms Frary, who lives with her daughter, Becky.

“Martyn was very competent in the water and in that sort of environment, and it was just a completely freak accident.

“We are just thankful that he died doing something he enjoyed doing, and was not stabbed or murdered, or the victim of an horrific road accident.”

Ms Frary said her brother's funeral - which is going to be a “celebration of his life” - will take place at the crematorium in Bury, on Friday November 24, at 2.15pm, followed by a wake at the town's Bushel pub.

Flowers being positioned in the shape of an anchor in the RNLI colours will then be taken back to Lowestoft with friends and colleagues of Mr Franklins, and taken out to sea.

Ms Frary is now planning to take part in the Great Manchester Run and the Great North Run next year to raise money for the RNLI, as well as setting up the Martyn Franklin Lifeboat Appeal.

“The RNLI volunteers do such a fantastic job and they are all very, very brave,” she said. “I was so proud of Martyn when he went out on the boat, and it was something that he really enjoyed doing. “The charity was so close to his heart and it does so much good that I want to do something to say thank you and to give something back.”

Ms Frary is preparing to set up a bank account for the lifeboat fund. In the meantime donations can be made to the appeal through L Fulcher funeral directors, 80 Whiting Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1NX, and must be made payable to the RNLI.

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